22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

Assessing groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration in a Nordic humid region dominated by snowmelt

23 Sep 2019, 11:15
Conference room 2.1 ()

Conference room 2.1

Oral Topic 1 - Groundwater assessment and management Parallel


Mr Lamine Boumaiza (University of Quebec at Chicoutimi)


Groundwater recharge in Nordic humid regions is mainly dominated by snow melt. Estimating recharge rates and determining evapotranspiration by determining the influence of different vegetation types on soil water fluxes represents a significant challenge. The stable water isotopes δ18O and δ2H can be used to investigate the water fluxes in the unsaturated zone, given that the isotope ratios of precipitation and snow melt are preserved in the pore water of sediments. These water isotope ratios in unsaturated zone profiles represent an inherent fingerprint of the infiltration history. Measuring the volumetric water content in these profiles, and then correlating these profiles with the isotopic profiles, makes it possible to determine the quantity of water that has infiltrated during different periods. The objectives of this study are to (i) understand snow melt infiltration at sites experiencing thick snow coverage during winter, (ii) calculate groundwater recharge rates, and (iii) estimate evapotranspiration rates at sites presenting different land covers (bare soil, bush vegetation coverage and mature forest coverage). At the study site, we sampled sediment cores at three different locations to analyse soil water content and isotope ratios in pore water. Groundwater recharge rates were calculated using the peak shift method. Using water balance values, we were able to additionally assess evaporation and transpiration at the different sites, with and without vegetation, and also to assess the influence of the vegetation cover on evapotranspiration and recharge. This study confirms the accuracy of the peak shift method for estimating recharge and for assessing the effects of field site characteristics and soil coverage on evapotranspiration rates.

Primary authors

Prof. Christine Stumpp (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna) Mr Lamine Boumaiza (University of Quebec at Chicoutimi) Romain Chesnaux (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi)

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